This week we add more states to our overview of K-12 enrollment trends between the 2020/21 and 2021/22 academic years. Mask policy changes have...
Week of 6/7: Virtual Here to Stay
K-12 transitions have come to a close as the numbers are now fixed for the balance of the year, with just over 30% of US K-12 students attending hybrid or virtual schools. We saw some large districts announce virtual offerings for next year, have a "Year in Review" chart comparing K-5, 6-8, and 9-12 learning plans, and state-level mask mandates continue to be removed. More below.
% US K-12 students attending "traditional" in-person/every day" schools = 69.6% (no change)
% US K-12 students attending "hybrid" schools = 28.3% (no change)
The above percentages are set to Sunday, June 6th. Our data is presented as "students attending schools that offer this learning plan" - most districts also offer virtual even when providing in-person. For above 2.1% of US K-12 students are currently attending schools that offer virtual-only plans, 69.6% offering traditional, etc.
- Springfield, MA will be offering a virtual academy next year after a very high level of interest from a small survey sample (742 responses in a district of 25,000 students). Planning for the academy preceded Covid19 and enrollment will begin with 50 students per grade.
- Fresno, CA announced a return to full time in-person for the Fall and will be offering a virtual academy as well.
- In Texas legislation to allow virtual learning next year proceeded and a wide range of districts in the state have plans to offer options.
- In this interesting survey out of heavily virtual Arlington, VA just over 5% of parents chose virtual for their children. The survey breaks out results by grade level and demographics. Arlington will continue to offer a virtual program in 2021/22.
- Sweetwater Union High School District, a large district in California, announced a return to full time in-person and will continue to offer the virtual Sweetwater "Launch Academy" in 2021/22.
- Burbio's tracker covers K-12 public schools, but in an interesting note on educational trends we saw that Boston Archdiocese will open a virtual/hybrid school - it's first new school in over 50 years.
- Santa Ana Unified, CA, which was virtual all year, announced survey results for next year with 87% of parents choosing in-person and the balance choosing fully online instruction.
- New York state sent this letter to the CDC indicating it would be removing school mask mandates on Monday, June 7th as part of aligning camp and school guidelines. Schools will still have flexibility to keep the mandates and New York City intends to keep it in place.
- Indiana Governor Holcomb removed in-school mask mandates as of June 30th and will leave the decision to local school boards. This and other recent shifts makes "No Mask Mandate - Local Flexibility" the most prevalent state-level policy category (affecting 38% of US K-12 students) as seen on our School Mask Policy Tracker.
- In Mississippi, the Executive Order for in-school masks has expired, and the Governor will not be renewing it and we flipped that state to light green.
- In Oklahoma the Governor signed a bill banning mask mandates in public schools.
- Media reports out of Georgia indicate Governor Kemp's school mask orders don't translate to an outright ban on in-school mask mandates, but they are having an effect. Gwinnett County schools now "strongly recommends" masks but does not require them, and in Cobb County schools "masks will be optional for call Cobb County students and staff" as of June 7th.
- This piece lays out the criteria that has been set by North Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services to remove in-school mask mandates. It includes vaccination for children under 12 and more research around the effects of Covid 19, meaning North Carolina will stay dark blue indefinitely.
- In another Catholic school story, 18 Catholic schools in New Hampshire are dropping mask requirements for next year.